Reverence – The Asthenic Ascension

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Review by Paul Castles

Candlelight Records

It may sometimes seem that Scandinavia holds a monopoly over black metal acts who walk on the darkside but Reverence are doing their bit to wave the crusty black flag for France. This trio have been around for well over a decade and The Asthenic Ascension is their fourth and most sophisticated release. Pretty much everything is here that a death metal disciple could yearn for, sinister overtures, distressed wailing and deep pounding rhythms. If anything these Gallic ghouls occasionally let the mask slip with some fairly lively creative melodies.

Opening track ‘Earth’ steps gingerly at first with sweeping symphonic sound as the storm clouds gather above before the heavens open and a cascade of noise tumbles down above which singer Luciferia can be heard barking out his commands. Reverence then crank things up on the album’s fastest track ‘Darwin’s Black Hall,’ opening at breakneck speed with Luciferia crying out as though being stretched to breaking point on some kind of hideous medieval rack of torture.

The blackened world of the occult takes on a haunting oppressed sound during slower numbers such as ‘Ghost of Dust’ when Reverence sustain a mid tempo nihilistic beat that still manages to hold your attention. If that’s not unsettling enough the sound of a distressed woman sobbing her heart out at the end of ‘Psalm IV’ is even more disturbing, her cries only silence by the blast of three gun shots. Title track The Asthenic Ascension is an immense closing number mixing operatic backing vocals, frantic blast beats, industrialized power surges and a swathe of crushing guitar sounds that threaten at times to envelope the listener.

Having signed with Candlelight Records, Reverence have a serious chance to get their sound across to a wider audience. It is certainly one they deserve.

Reverence sleeve7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Earth
  2. Darwin’s Black Hall
  3. The Descent
  4. Psalm IV
  5. Ghost of Dust
  6. Cold Room
  7. Genesis of Everything
  8. Those Who Believed
  9. The Asthenic Ascension